Coronavirus: How suspended sport is affecting Kenyans
Published on: April 10, 2020 10:51 (EAT)
The coronavirus pandemic has brought the sporting world to a standstill with only Burundi and some Middle East countries still continuing with their domestic leagues. The 2020 sporting calendar has been torn up with major events including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Euro 2020, major city marathons, African Nations Championship 2020, have been have either been suspended or postponed. As the world retreats to quarantine itself in order to slow the coronavirus spread, I have made a major observation on how some special groups of sports lovers have been affected by these world pandemic. Gambling Sports gambling has plummeted due to the suspension of the major leagues across the world with bookmakers struggling to find markets on the few remaining sports events. A spot check around Kahawa Wendani on the outskirts of Nairobi shows how Kenyan punters are going through a hard time. I met Dan Oguta, a boda boda rider who is now live betting on dog racing. “I bought my motorbike after I won bet when the leagues were at their climax. At no single day did I miss Sh4000 from betting but now coronavirus has forced me to place bets on dog racing; something I’ve never done before. “People have been quarantined that means the boda boda business is not doing well look at me now watching dogs racing very sad state of affair indeed,” Oguta said. Cyber Cafés Mary (not her real name) operates cyber café around the same are says business is struggling big time because the gambling nation has nothing to bet on. “We normally open this place at 7am -7pm, most of the customers are placing bets, and they can stay for even two to three hours just placing bets, but since the corona virus was declared a world pandemic you will rarely see them coming. Most of the clients who are very few just come to send emails and or maybe print and leave truly sports move many businesses,” she said. Play Station businesses Not everyone can afforded a Play Station, but many youth love playing the games involved in it mainly FIFA . These was one of the booming businesses in these estate but, because of the love of sports and the rivalry involved among the football fans in these are . Simon who owns one of the places has closed his business so far because of the quarantine effected by the government . “The last three weeks has been hell on us on these businesses most of our clients are football fans that get excited and spend money on these games because of the excitement that comes with it when the season is on, now there is no football all the attention has been shifted to movies. Plus due to the precaution of keeping one meter and not sharing the playing pads we found it necessary to close for a while until the situation is under control. Clubs Many people flock the clubs mostly during the weekend to watch football, those Saturdays when there are early kick offs and later kickoff be it the high end clubs or the joints in the estate football rules every time anywhere. Since the government order the closer of night club many have being going through hell, it’s either home delivery or the stock expires. Mikasa is one of the local joint in Wendani that’s has stopped operations as told by the owner Rachel, “I sold all the stock I had before the curfew and the quarantine was declared, I didn’t want to risk going for a loss, but truth be told I miss the premier league weekends, the midweek games like the champions league and the Europa league business was booming, but since corona took over the world I haven’t even renewed my DSTV, because there is no one to watch. I now believe sports is life Gym Just Train Gym and Aerobics is one of the most popular gyms in these estate by I has been closed since the directive by the government was issued. Daniel Kithuka who was regular says life has been hard since he has been forced to buy some equipment’s to train at home as explains. “I used to train every morning ,but since the closure because most of the equipment’s are shared we didn’t want to take a risk so we formed a what’s up group where the trainer gives us daily program and some of us who love weight have been forced to buy some and train from home .